Friday, February 25

Friendship With God

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. --James 2:22-24

How well do you know your best friend? Can you finish each other's sentences? Can you feel like you've spent a quality afternoon together even if all you've done is watch TV? Is your best friend the first person you want to talk to about practically anything?

My husband is my best friend, and I can say all of those are true of our relationship. We get along perfectly because not only do we love each other, but we like and know each other quite a bit. Naturally, this has not come about by accident. While dating, we spent a lot of time together, observing one another's responses to an entire spectrum of circumstances, emotions, and events.

Whether or not you have that type of close personal relationship with any of your peers, your spouse, or whomever, you can experience a wonderfully close relationship and level of intimacy with God. Some of the same basic rules for establishing good personal relationships can also be applied to the development of a spiritual one.

Rule #1 Be Genuine
God already knows your name and everything about you, even if you've never spoken to him before. You don't need to come to him with an attitude of false spirituality or anything else like that. He knows you and loves you exactly as you are. Be honest with him about your fears, your joys, your insecurities...all of that. Nothing you could do would prevent him from loving you.

Rule #2 Invest your Time
If you were to start telling people that your newest and greatest friendship was based only on a singular experience of borrowing a pencil from the guy sitting behind you in calculus class, people would probably raise their eyebrows with skepticism. They would question the depth of your level of friendship with that person. Friendship may begin with a single event, but it takes time to make it flourish. Although you only need to ask God once to give you the gift of grace and salvation, you need to maintain a regular pattern of conversations with him if you expect to develop a genuine relationship with him. Talk to him when you're having a great day. Talk to him when you're frustrated. Talk to him when you're so excited about an upcoming date that you can't sleep. Talk to him when you're sad about things...(you get the picture.)

Rule #3 Respect your Differences
No two people are alike, no matter how many personality traits they may share. A good relationship is formed when you are able to respect your differences and use them to bring about positive changes in your own way of thinking about or doing things. In a relationship with God, you must remember that you are the only one who will be changing. Respect that God is the ultimate authority and that his way is always right. Unlike a human relationship where two people tend to "rub off" on each other, a relationship with God involves surrending to the reality that you need to let him "rub off" on you.

I don't mean to trivialize the importance of having a relationship with God. I only intend to point out that God is real and that he desires to be involved in our lives on a deeply personal level. Although this is a spiritual matter, it doesn't need to be perceived as some unattainable ethereal thing; nor is it a pursuance of some higher good, nor a process of achieving enlightenment, as is the case with most Eastern religions. Always keep in mind that Christianity is not a religion--it is a relationship.



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